Using a search engine is the fundamental starting point for discovering the worlds information. Real time search makes this information available quicker than ever before. Google and Bing now bring you the information you are looking for, seconds after it becomes available on the internet. This amazing new innovation is made possible by a simple new concept called PubSubHubbub.
What are you talking about?
The basic concept of a search engine pre 2009 was simple enough: Have a bunch of web page addresses stored in a database and crawl them as fast as you can to update the information. As simple as this sounds, this is an extremely inefficient method of retrieving information. This method of aggregating information is known as the “pull method”. However, the guys over at Google designed a new concept called PubSubHubbub which surprisingly enough, wasn’t thought of years before. Instead of search engines constantly pinging your website looking for new information, why not rather jut let them know when new information is available? This is known as the “push method” and is a far more effecient method of sharing and aggregating information on the web.
What content is being indexed in real time?
Google has managed to aggregate all sorts of content in real time. Some real time content I have noticed on Google originated from these types of websites:
- Online News Sources.
- Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed etc).
How does this affect my website(s)?
From what I already know is that WordPress registered blogs (yourblogname.wordpress.com) have automatically been updated to include this new feature. Therefore, if you host your blog on WordPress chances are, you’re content is already being indexed in real time. However, if you run a standard website, integrating this new technology is slightly more complicated. Due to the fact that PubSubHubbub is still relatively new to the internet, there aren’t many tutorials available to the average Joe. Consider contacting an experienced web developer.
However, it is still unclear as whether or not Google just makes use of PubSubHubbub to gain all this real time information. This was mentioned on the official Google blog:
Our real-time search features are based on more than a dozen new search technologies that enable us to monitor more than a billion documents and process hundreds of millions of real-time changes each day. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our new partners that we’re announcing today: Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku and Identi.ca — along with Twitter, which we announced a few weeks ago.
Real time search in action
If you would like to see real time indexing in action, go to Google. Insert a search phrase and hit enter. Once the results page has loaded, click on the “Show Options” link above the results section. A menu will appear on the left of the screen. Click on the “Latest” link and Google will show you all the latest content is has fetched for that particular search phrase. The page will automatically update with new content as Google indexes it. Very cool!
As you can notice, the world is becoming a far smaller place than we once thought. Information is now literally at your fingertips. Obviously people will have different views on how relevant these results are and I’m sure Google is having a tough time keeping their algorithm up to date. This is a very exciting time for the internet as a whole. One of the things I like about real time content is that it fuels the ongoing advances of augmented reality.